Finkel in April 2014
|Born||June 7, 1950|
Newark, New Jersey, United States
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Howard Finkel|
|Billed height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
Howard Finkel (born June 7, 1950) is an American semi-retired professional wrestling ring announcer, employed by WWE. He began working for Vince McMahon Sr.'s World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) in 1975, making him the company's longest tenured employee, and has been a ring announcer since 1977.
Finkel, a native of Newark, New Jersey, is the WWE's first employee after having been first hired in 1975 by Vince McMahon, Sr. for what was then known as the WWWF. Finkel debuted as a ring announcer at Madison Square Garden on January 17, 1977. By 1979, he had become the organization's lead ring announcer for their biggest events. Despite announcing for the WWWF, Finkel’s employment is recognized by WWE as beginning on April 1, 1980 under the company's current incorporation. Throughout his career, Finkel's distinctive voice was sometimes used in the title sequence for the company's various television programs. Finkel's signature call was his announcement of a new champion following a title change, in which he would place extra emphasis on the word "new", in order to draw the greatest reaction from the crowd. Finkel came up with the event name "WrestleMania", as well as Ricky Steamboat's "Dragon" nickname. In 1984, Finkel became WWF's lead ring announcer for TV tapings, replacing the retired Joe McHugh. During a 2011 interview, Finkel said he had also played a part in the talent relations and creative departments during the early days of the WWF.
On January 19, 1987, Howard Finkel was presented a plaque by Gene Okerlund, commemorating ten years of announcing at Madison Square Garden. In 1993, at the "Roman"-themed WrestleMania IX, Howard Finkel was introduced in a toga as Finkus Maximus.
In 1995, Finkel took a seven-month hiatus from ring announcing on PPVs and Television broadcasts (but not at house shows) and was replaced by Manny Garcia. Finkel returned to full-time ring announcing at Royal Rumble 1996.
Finkel in storylines
As an announcer, Finkel was generally separate from the scripted angles, but occasionally he became part of the company's storylines. In November 1990, Finkel played a tangential role in Curt Hennig defeating Kerry Von Erich to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship after he accepted a bribe from Ted DiBiase (whom Von Erich had recently attacked on The Brother Love Show) to let him take over as guest ring announcer for the match. DiBiase would eventually help Hennig to win the title by hitting Von Erich with the championship belt and afterwards taunted Von Erich over his defeat.
1992 saw the beginning of a feud with manager Dr. Harvey Wippleman, who would regularly complain about Finkel's announcing. In 1992, Finkel was attacked by Wippleman's wrestler Kamala; at WrestleMania X Wippleman berated Finkel and tore off part of the announcer's tuxedo, who finally retaliated by pushing the manager to the ground. This led to Finkel's first match on January 9, 1995; on Monday Night Raw, he won a tuxedo match over Wippleman, by stripping him to his underwear.
Finkel became involved in a feud between X-Pac and Jeff Jarrett, when Jarrett shaved the already near-bald Finkel's head. This feud culminated in a Hair versus Hair Match at SummerSlam 1998, with Finkel in the corner of X-Pac. X-Pac won the match and Finkel assisted him in cutting Jarrett's hair.
In August 1999, Finkel became a lackey of the recently debuted Chris Jericho. On August 26, during the pilot episode of WWF SmackDown, Jericho encouraged Finkel to attack SmackDown announcer Tony Chimel and take back his place as lead announcer. Finkel ran down the aisle, shoving Chimel and ordering him to step aside. As Finkel started to announce, Chimel threw Finkel from the ring. While Jericho helped Finkel to the back, they crossed paths with Ken Shamrock, who jostled with Jericho. Jericho convinced Finkel to distract Shamrock during his match. After Finkel berated Shamrock, Shamrock began twisting Finkel's finger, permitting Jericho to hit Shamrock from behind with a steel chair. Several weeks later, Finkel adopted the role of El Dopo, a masked referee who unfairly officiated a Shamrock match, awarding the win to Curtis Hughes. On the October 14 episode of SmackDown!, Jericho defeated Hughes with help from Finkel, but gave Finkel to Curtis Hughes after the match. Four days later on Monday Night Raw, Curtis Hughes bet and lost Finkel in a game of poker, to The Acolytes.
On an August 2002 episode of Raw, Finkel turned heel and began a brief feud with Raw ring announcer Lilian Garcia over the lead spot, before both were attacked by 3-Minute Warning. The following week, Garcia defeated Finkel in an evening gown/tuxedo match with help from Trish Stratus and Stacy Keibler, who were insulted by a remark made by Finkel.
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By 2000, Howard Finkel had taken a lighter schedule with the additions of Lilian Garcia and Tony Chimel to Raw and SmackDown, respectively, but he still announced for some of the WWF/E's pay-per-view events.
By 2006, Finkel was rarely heard from even at pay-per-views. However, he regularly announced at house shows and would introduce the WWE Hall of Fame inductees at WrestleMania. Finkel himself was inducted on April 4, 2009 by "Mean" Gene Okerlund. Because Finkel was one of that year's inductees, SmackDown announcer Justin Roberts replaced him in introducing the group at WrestleMania XXV. Finkel's current television appearances are sporadic, at major pay-per-views and occasional episodes of Raw and SmackDown. Finkel appeared at every WrestleMania from 1985-2016.
Finkel did the voiceover in the intro for the WWE.com video show, The Dirt Sheet, and also conducted interviews for various WWE.com programs. He is WWE's chief statistician. On September 7, 2009, he announced in special guest host Bob Barker's The Price is Right-inspired segments. He was in the background of the Decade of SmackDown celebrations on the October 2 episode.
Finkel returned to ring announcing (for one night only) on the November 15, 2010 "Old School" episode of Raw. He appeared on an episode of NXT, in an "Outthink The Fink" challenge. In a March 28, 2011 interview, Finkel stated his favorite (and career-defining) accomplishment was announcing at WrestleMania III, in front of over 93,000 fans
On April 10, 2012, Finkel appeared on the "Blast from the Past" episode of SmackDown.
On July 23, 2012, Finkel was a special ring announcer on the 1,000th episode of Raw.
His role in announcing the WWE Hall of Fame inductees at WrestleMania has been passed onto other ring announcers in the WWE beginning in 2017.
On January 22, 2018, at the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw, Finkel was the announcer to introduce The Undertaker, although it was a recording due to him being unable to attend the event.
In recent years, he has been working in a backstage role for WWE.
Finkel regularly appeared in the WWE web series The JBL and Cole Show, until the show's cancellation in June 2015.
- WWF Superstars of Wrestling ring announcer
- Heat ring announcer
- Byte This host
- Raw ring announcer (January 1993 - 1997)
- SmackDown ring announcer
- House show ring announcer
- Madison Square Garden ring announcer
- Madison Square Garden color commentator
- WWE Hall of Fame announcer (WrestleMania)
- Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) ring announcer
Awards and accomplishments
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- "Howard Finkel's imdb Profile". IMDB.com. April 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Howard Finkel's Profile". Online World of Wrestling. April 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
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- "Howard Finkel's Hall of Fame Profile". WWE. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2011-03-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Howard Finkel presented with plaque". WWE. April 7, 2009. Archived from the original on March 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Howard's Obsessed with wrestling profile and El Dopo". Obsessedwithwrestling.com. April 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Smackdown Results:1999". Onlineworldofwrestling.com. April 7, 2009. Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Raw:1999". Onlineworldofwrestling.com. April 7, 2009. Archived from the original on June 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Howard Finkel wants his job back". Onlineworldofwrestling.com. April 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Howard Finkel vs Lillian". Onlineworldofwrestling.com. April 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "WWE News: Terrible health update on WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel". SportsKeeda. July 21, 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
- "WWE Employees Fans May Have Forgotten Still Work for Vince". TheSportster. November 1, 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
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